One of the most common questions we receive is, “What is the best way to maintain my golf cart batteries?” Winter visitors have a unique circumstance which tends to be very hard on deep cycle batteries in golf carts and RVs. Here are a few pointers for getting the most out of your batteries.
Prior to leaving for summer:
Top charge batteries
Check water levels
Clean and check all terminal connections
Install battery maintainer
Most importantly, watering must be done at the right time and in the right amount or the battery’s performance and longevity suffers.
Water should always be added after fully charging the battery. Prior to charging there should be enough water to cover the plates. If the battery has been discharged the water level should also be above the plates. Keeping the water at the correct level after a full charge will prevent having to worry about the water level at a different state of charge.
Batteries should be checked once a month until you get a feel for how often your batteries are in need of watering.
Things to Remember
1. Do not let the plates get exposed to air. This will damage (corrode) the plates.
2. Do not fill the water level in the filling well to the cap. This most likely will cause the battery to overflow, losing capacity and causing a corrosive mess.
3. Do not use water with a high mineral content. Use distilled water only.
Step-By-Step Watering Procedure
1. Open the vent caps and look inside the fill wells.
2. Check electrolyte level; minimum level is at the top of the plates.
3. If necessary add enough water to cover the plates.
4. Charge batteries before adding any additional water.
5. Once charging is completed, open the vent caps and look inside the fill wells.
6. Add water until the electrolyte level is 1/8” below the bottom of the fill well.
7. Clean, replace and tighten all vent caps.
Add water to 0.125” below bottom of the vent well.
The largest cause of battery failure is “Sulfation.” This is a build-up of lead sulfate crystals causing loss of capacity, longer charging times, boil out and shorter battery life. Sulfation is a primary concern with winter visitors whose golf carts sit idle for months. One of the best investments you can make is a “battery saver.” The units typically retail for around $139 and serve a wide range of purposes. First, it babysits the battery preventing self-discharge. Batteries sitting in partially charged state are a primary cause of Sulfation. This process is drastically accelerated at temperatures over 100 degrees F. Second, the unit pulses at the same frequency as the sulfur molecules breaking down the Sulfation on the plates. Not only does it prevent the Sulfation process, it will reverse it over time. Third, by keeping battery fully charged it greatly reduces water loss due to evaporation.